Scribbling Dame

Preposterous Pondering.

Time Travel July 23, 2010

So we did our annual trip to the hometown or what I like to call Baby Tour 2010. Once a year we go back to the Bay Area and parade our child around for all of our relatives to gawk at and spoil. They also get to see how fat I’ve gotten and watch my mothering techniques and ask me how teaching is going–even though I haven’t taught for over five years now. Ah, family.

It’s funny how your history holds you captive. Whatever I was at age 15 is what I will always be to my family; academic, well-behaved, wordy, an independent woman. My husband is always going to be what he was at 21 when he first met my family; a film student and a brainiac. These are not bad, I know. There are worse things to be labeled as, but the truth is these are stale versions of a former self. As we all know, I am no longer articulate, and I am especially not well-behaved.

Still, now that I have a two-year-old and not a baby that I can totally control, I found myself a slave to the pressures of perfect parenting, praying that my kid would be the well-behaved one and kiss all the old people on command. I crossed my fingers that there would be no tantrums for fear of being labeled as having no control or over-spoiling. I know how my family talks about people when they aren’t there and I didn’t want to give them material for fodder. I wanted Sofia to choose Angel, not Demon, because I know she would never be able to change out of it again.

Why did my child have to learn how to scream?

Sofia followed suit, upholding my pristine reputation as the “good” “smart” “articulate” one by showing she inherited those traits as well. Of course she is even better because she is still little and innocent and cuddly and easily excited by things like drinking apple juice from a wine glass or yogurt covered raisins. She did her job, and I sort of hated it.

Let me be clear, my kid behaved in front of others on our trip. She is not a perfect saint all the time. In fact, lately she’s started up with screaming, at the top of her lungs, especially in the car. It completely makes me lose my shit and she knows it.

But, if there is ever a time to have an excuse to misbehave, it is when you are a child. And, what does it matter if I get labeled as a bad mother? And, why don’t these conversations revolve around “bad” fathers too? I suppose this all goes back to Vagism, but the inner teenager in me says “you have no idea who I am or what I am about, so you can’t judge me.”

And yet I let them sometimes. Sigh. Eleanor Roosevelt would be disappointed (“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Which, does anyone watch the Bachelorette–she totally used this quote and it made me like it way less…Ugh.)

I sound far more depressed about this than I am. It was just a phenomenon that I noticed, a little moment of inner turmoil that is another day in modern mom life.

On a brighter side I got to see all the special things about my Grandma’s and Nana’s and friends that make me love them so much. It is nice to watch their interactions with Sofia and her responses to them. It is amazing and terrifying to watch my little girl play with my high school friend’s little girl and think that they may get into some of the adventures we did.

Sofia and Bridget: Future Double Trouble

I noticed age a lot more on this visit: how old my grandparents and parents are getting, how I am no longer part of the young crowd that gets invited to the clubs or bars with the cousins, and how my friends and I talk about our kids, careers and healthcare when we hang out now.  I was worried about not hitting the gym at all that week and feeling the creaks in my bones.

I guess I am dying. Okay not really. It just seemed like the next logical thing to say, and technically every second we are all dying a little bit. I didn’t think I was depressed until I wrote this posting. Sorry to ruin your week. Jesus.

My life isn’t so terrible. As I blog my feet are being massaged by my Homedics foot warming massager, so all in all, it’s not so bad.

 

Lessons in Parenting from Willy Wonka June 25, 2010

Filed under: Lessons in Parenting — Scribbling Dame @ 10:37 am
Tags: , , ,

Parenting Expert or Creepy Pedophile?

Have any of you realized how weird and fucked up your favorite movies from childhood are?

In my memories, movies like Willy Wonka and Disney’s Alice in Wonderland were totally awesome kids movies. Now, watching them as an adult with my own daughter, I am like, WTF?  This movie is messed up. Alice in Wonderland doesn’t even make sense, which, given that it was written by an opium addict I guess is appropo. Willy Wonka is a psycho or a pedophile–can’t figure out which. Don’t even get me started on The Secret of Nymh or The NeverEnding story. No wonder I am such a weirdo–these are the films that raised me!

Anyway, tradition is tradition so Sofia is totally into “Willy Honka” as she calls him. Watching it with her, it struck me how much of that film is directed towards parents and parenting.

Lessons in parenting from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, sung by Oompa Loompas, summarized by le moi…

Lesson 1) Don’t let your kid be a fatty, or he will surely be stuck in a the chocolate river piping; a fate we all hope our children avoid. The lesson here could also be don’t let your kid be German. Not sure.

Lesson 2) Don’t let your kid chew gum all the time, and make sure they listen to grown-ups (even if they are candyman weirdos). No one wants to have to be juiced.

Lesson 3) Don’t let your kid be a spoiled shit or someone might throw them in a furnace. Nuff said.

Lesson 4) Make your kids read books more than they watch T.V.–or creepy movies about pedophiles and midgets and disappearing children. Hmm.

Lesson 5) Read everything you sign, especially if you plan on stealing something. If Charlie had kept that Everlasting Gobstopper, he would have been out a lifetime supply of chocolate plus a candy empire!

Lesson 6) When you get everything you want in life, remember to be happy. Ok, so this one is totally on point.

Of course, the oddest thing about this film is that the kid who has the most moral capacity is in fact the one with the least parental presence. Charlie’s mom busts her ass all day doin’ laundry, no dad around, and only teachers and old crips spend time with him. What are you trying to say Willy?

No matter. You had me at chocolate river.

 

 
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